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General News
For ALL Researchers

  • New FGS data available 
  • Y2K problems with VCRs -- a fix
  • Virginia Archive Patents & Grants Now Online
  • LDS to go online with data
  • USGS Adds DRGs to the web -- digitized pict's of their maps
  • USGS changes map-CD content & price -- bad news!
  • Satellite photos available on the web

    Major Additions to My FGS Files

    I have just uploaded both the new 'alphabetical' and 'by family' FGS files.  There are almost 1,000 new names.  A few more subnissions, and we'll have over 28,000 names. 
    Since the files are getting so large, I'm thinking about writing a search-engine program that will allow you to scan the files without downloading them.  Since I'm kept very busy, it may take awhile, but I think it would make a great improvement to LeeHouse.  Meanwhile, you'll have to continue using the ^F method with the whole file.  And before you recommend a search-engine I could use, remember that there aren't any that work with the free-form FGS numbering system.        [Return to Top]

    Is your VCR Y2K compliant?
    From: Bob (KD6GPJ)

    Here is something I bet you hadn't thought would be an issue for Y2K.  You won't be able to use the programmed recording feature on your VCR.  Do not throw away your VCR in the year 2000.  Set it on 1972 because the days will be the same.  Please pass this on, because you know the manufacturer will not share this information -- they will want you to buy a new one that is Y2K compliant.       [Return to Top]

    Virginia Archive Patents & Grants Are Now Online

          The Virginia Archives have gone online with their Patents & Grants!  Now we have access to the originals -- no more $4/item copy fee!  There is an Index, where you can look up what's available by either date or name.  From there (they are pictures of the card file), you can click to see a .tiff image of the actual deed.  You'll need a program that can view .tiff images (your browser won't), but if you don't have one, there's one available at the site.
          The disadvantage is that you have to be pretty good at reading "olde" writing.  [Return to Top]

    LDS To Go Online With Data

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Mormon church says it will put at least some of its family-history archive -- the world's largest -- on the World Wide Web. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted a statement Friday about the plan on its official Web site, One leader said last year the church has archived the names of 13 billion people from 110 countries. "There are millions and millions of records just in their International Genealogy Index alone, and millions more in their ancestral files, and both of those are electronic databases," Karen Clifford, president and CEO of Genealogical Research Associates, said Saturday in The Salt Lake Tribune. [Return to Top]

    USGS Adds DRGs to the web --

          What the heck is a "DRG"?  A DRG is a "Digital Raster Graphic" or, in simpler terms, a digital picture of a USGS 7½° by 7½° quad (quadrangle / map).  Rather than paying $4 for one of these, you can download it from the web.  You can then use a program that reads .tif files to view & and zoom your way around the map.  If you don't have such a program, you can get DLGV32 free from USGS (D/L "dlgv32-3_6.exe").
          There are, however, a few disadvantages to these online DRGs.  The first of these is that you don't have a large "paper" copy (unless you have a big plotter), and the files are about 10 Mb and will take some time to D/L (about 48 min's @ 28.8 kb & 25 min's @ 56 kb).  To find out what is available, you'll have to do a little searching thru the various sites, but start here
          Also, not all of the DRGs are available online.  And, rather than all being on the USGS site, selected DRGs are scattered over several special interest sites.  My particular interest area of VA & NC are not available on any of the sites.  But, if you get lucky, maybe you'll find what you need.  Good luck. 
          One final note: DRGs are also available on CDs (see below).   [Return to Top]

    USGS changes map-CD content & price --

          Until last Oct. ('98), USGS was selling DRGs on CDs.  Each CD covered a 1° by 1° area, and contained 1 ea. 200k scale map, 2 ea. 100k maps, & 64 ea. 7½° by 7½° 24k scale maps.  The price was $35 per CD plus $3.50 S&H. 
          Since Oct., however, they've changed their policy.  Pre-made CDs are no longer available, and you now specify which particular maps you want on the CD for a $45 base charge, plus $1 per map, plus $3.50 S&H.  What was $38.50 is now $115.50 -- 300% -- THAT'S WAY TOO MUCH!.  Now, what that means to me is I can no longer afford to even think of ordering one of these CDs.  I'm going to write my Congress Person, and see what can be done to lower the cost to something reasonable.  For the benefit of all of us, you might do the same.  [Return to Top]

    Satellite photos available on the web --

          Want to see a close-up view of your home from declassified satellite pictures -- or maybe where Uncle George's farm was?  Take a look at TerraServer, where a combination of U.S. & Russian government recon photos are available in one of the biggest databases in the World.  You can select by place name or Lat/Lon.  [Return to Top]